A closer look at how various suspension upgrades differ...
BILSTEIN is a name synonymous with Ford tuning, so we headed to Leicester to meet up with their UK Aftermarket Manager, Aaron Quilter. Having been at the UK company from its early beginnings in 2000, Aaron is very proud to be what is known at the company internally, as a ‘BILSTEINer’. You only need take a swift glance at the place to see why he has every right to be more than satisfied with his chosen working environment. BILSTEIN UK is like a military operation.
So, how has BILSTEIN built one of the most recognisable brands in the Fast Ford and motorsports world? Back in 1961 BILSTEIN entered in to motorsport and this has played an important part in BILSTEIN the driving dynamics of today’s road going cars. Why? We’ll allow Steffen Zacharias, BILSTEIN’s Director of Motorsport, to explain. “For nearly 50 years, the Nürburgring and its Nordschleife in particular has been one of the most important tracks for BILSTEIN’s shock absorber development.” Reveals Steffen. “The level of varied demands a suspension system has to cope with, can, quite simply, be found at no other circuit. The Nürburgring Nordschleife represents the optimum racetrack for BILSTEIN to demonstrate our competence in the shockabsorber development area.”
It’s this pursuit of absolute excellence that filters down through
“These TüV approved B12 kits are Nürburgring tested for maximum performance and reliability”
everything that the company does. Let’s get the lowdown on BILSTEIN’s most popular product lines…
The B12 product line offers two different choices of lowering: There’s the ‘Lemon & Herb’ ProKit and the ‘Medium’ Sportline. Both fall into BILSTEIN’s Street Performance category. Both options offer the perfect ‘Stage 1’ kit to lower your car and get that sporty look and drivability. The formula: Four high-performance shock absorbers, four springs, best tuning and BILSTEIN expertise.
The B12 Pro-Kit allows vehicles to be lowered up to 40mm. The kit has the perfect combination of sporty driving dynamics and aesthetics all teamed-up with top quality German engineering to OE standards. This B12 kits consist of BILSTEIN B8 high-performance shock absorbers that are perfectly matched with Eibach springs for an optimal ride.
The B12 Sportline kit is built for road lovers. It’s the perfect solution for those wanting near OE-levels of comfort but also want maximum lowering whilst still being able to lean on the loud pedal down a B-road. Lowering the car up to 50mm this sophisticated shock and spring kit is perfectly matched to work in harmony with your car. Unlike the shock and spring kits we might be used to, both these TüV approved B12 kits are Nürburgring tested for maximum performance and reliability, which is pretty much unheard of at this price bracket.
B16 is the second tier of the BILSTEIN coil- over range, sitting just above the non-adjustable B14 units, B16 features an effective single point damping adjustment. This easy-to-use wheel allows a parallel adjustment of both bump and rebound. Simply put – you can never confuse the settings, each click delivers a perfectly matched rebound and bump setting, each one softer or harder than the last and allows you to adjust the performance to your individual taste. This damping adjustment technology is known as ‘1-way’ adjustment. Ride height is fully adjustable on the car via BILSTEIN’s unique round thread system. Compared to traditional threads, these threads are round and do not have any sharp edges. This means that the thread is less susceptible to wear caused by dirt or road salt.
With TüV approved lowering ranges and a host of corrosion resistant features in the body, BILSTEIN coil- overs are some of the most robust on the market, outlasting competitor’s offerings in the famous German salt spray test. This means that with a little love your BILSTEIN coil- overs will remain free spinning and adjustable for years to come.
All B16 coilover kits feature monotube or upside- down monotube damper technology. What does this mean? Whether driving in poor driving conditions, sporty driving, or competitive motorsports, BILSTEIN monotube technology provides greater
damping power due to the larger surface area of the piston. This results in improved handling, consistent performance, and longer service life. Increased installation flexibility allows engineers to find the optimum mounting position. BILSTEIN also uses upside- down monotube technology which allows the piston rod to be installed at the bottom of the shock tube body. A wear-resistant chromium tube moves up and down freely by incorporating low friction bearings. Both the support and lateral forces are distributed across a larger area than in twintube systems, and the torsional strength of the connection between the wheel and vehicle body is increased.
Clubsport sounds fast, doesn’t it? Well that’s because it is, BILSTEIN Clubsport is geared towards the real track- day enthusiast and translates years of motorsport experience and
race winning technology into a coil- over for you to enjoy. With over 100 different damper setting variations possible, individual bump and rebound adjustment and camber adjustable top mounts BILSTEIN Clubsport should have any real driver drooling.
Despite all the adjustment on offer BILSTEIN hasn’t made Clubsport hard to use, with an ingenious colour coding system – blue for bump, red for rebound. This ‘2-way adjustable system’ makes on the fly adjustments at the circuit a breeze and when coupled with a lightweight aluminium construction makes the Clubsport a sure-fire winner in our eyes.
So, you’ve bought a car with electronically adjustable dampers, you’re stuck with just a spring kit to lower it right? Wrong. People after a lower ride height and more driving involvement can also keep electronically switchable suspension with BILSTEIN’s height adjustable DampTronic® Range.
Just like the original system it replaces, BILSTEIN DampTronic® features constantly variable damping, by using wheel speed sensors, suspension force sensors and engine control sensors to adjust the damping to suit the road surface just like the OE damper. At the touch of a button damping rate can be altered between the BILSTEIN comfort and BILSTEIN sport settings. This is a popular option for people who visit track- days like Nürburgring and Spa where a dual damping characteristic keeps a comfortable road ride to and from the circuit, and a fantastic performance when on track too. This coil- over system that integrates with factory electronics damping will be the perfect solution for Mk3 Focus RS owners wanting to retain the ‘Normal’ and ‘Track’ adjustability at the touch of a button.
BILSTEIN’s roundthread system and anti-corrosion treatment helps prevent the threads from ceasing over time
B12 kits are available as Pro-Kit or Sportline options
B16 coil-overs sit just above the B14 range as they offer adjustable damping rates, on a single adjuster
B16 coil-overs use a monotube design for best performance
Clubsport allows you to adjust the bump and rebound settings independently of each other
DampTronic® allows the use of softer ‘road’ settings, and firmer ‘sport’ settings at the touch of a button